Jonathan, Day 1

Jonathan Winters having fun in front of his house in the rain

When we showed up at Jonathan Winters’ home the first day of shooting CERTIFIABLY JONATHAN, which by the way, started out as an interview about his art and paintings, Jonathan was waiting to greet us outside his front door. It became a sort of routine from that point on for the next three years of spending time with Jonathan. That day of talking about art and his influences set the tone for the rest of the film. He would start talking about his painting and then look into the camera and shift into another character. By the end of the day we not only had interviewed Jonathan Winters but a number of other characters as well. At that point, we knew there was more than a little documentary about a famous comedian who also painted amazing art.

From that day on when we showed up to spend the day with Jonathan we would stop at his gate and call him on the intercom. He’d answer in some funny character voice and buzz us in. By the time we’d get to the entry of his home, he would be standing there waiting to begin the performance, sometimes dressed as a general, a cowboy, a sports team coach, sometimes just his Mickey Mouse jacket. He was always in character and it was always a surprise.

The old hat routine he used to do on The Andy Williams Show was right out of his own wardrobe. I think he actually lived and breathed those characters (suggested by those hats) and there was an endless number because of his incredible improvisational abilities. The funniest character was always Jonathan himself though. He’s one of the slyest and smartest people I have ever met.

-Richard Marshall, Producer

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2 Responses to Jonathan, Day 1

  1. Keith Kemp says:

    There are many things to be grateful for when your disabled and I find one of them is my sense of humor is still working.

    A person has to grow up with many examples of what life throws at you in order to sort the good from the forget about it and move on.

    I can and do say sincerely that JW is one of the reasons I know what a sense of humor looks like because on national TV I saw JW showing everybody his and it was big.

    My sense of humor is only big enough to make my small circle of friends laugh and I am ok with this.

    Please tell JW he is more appreciated than he will ever know.

    If the US Government ever needed an ambassador of humor than we will hire JW !!

    Keith Kemp

  2. Todd Pierce says:

    I enjoyed Jonathan as a child in the 1960’s watching him crack my family up regularly around the dinner table on his show. Fast forward almost 40 years later, I am working on the set of the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie and there in front of me is my Hero Jonathan Winters with a broad smile and his Cavalry hat adorning his head. I thanked him for many years of happiness he brought me in my youth, and I recalled always laughing at his Chester Honeyhugger. His eyes lit up brightly as he said,”You remember Chester?!” “Of couse I do I said. “Bless that man in front of a huge group of other actors, set workers etc. He proceeded to do 15 minutes of Chester for me. So shines a good deed in a weary world. What a great American treasure.

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